Murderer’s life sentence reduced
St John’s, Antigua — The Court of Appeal has reduced the life sentence of convicted murderer Yourrick Furlonge, to 20 years in prison.
The court ordered that the sentence must be counted from 2007, since Furlonge was remanded into custody at prison from then until his conviction in 2009.
Furlonge, who actually wanted his conviction and sentenced quashed, was found guilty of stabbing 19-year-old Jason Pryce to death during J’Ouvert celebrations on Carnival Monday, August 6, 2007.
The appellate court said the sentence was excessive and that contrary to the decision of the High court judge, there were a number of mitigating factors for which Furlonge should have been given credit.
The appellate judges noted that Furlonge, who was 26 years old at the time of the incident, was young, had no prior convictions, was qualified, had a good work ethic and was gainfully employed.
Furlonge’s lawyer, Dane Hamilton QC, had reasoned that his client’s conviction and sentence should be quashed because the High Court trial judge had allegedly misdirected the jury or did not give the jury proper directions when summing up the evidence.
The Court of Appeal said the claim was unfounded.
Director of Public Prosecutions (DPP) Anthony Armstrong was opposed to quashing or reducing the sentence.
He had argued that Furlonge’s attack on Pryce was unprovoked and he committed the crime in broad daylight during a national event. Additionally, Pryce was unarmed and he was attacked from behind.
The DPP had also pointed to the appellate court to evidence in the autopsy report that was presented by Pathologist Petra Miller-Nanton during the High Court trial.
The doctor had told the court Pryce sustained two stab wounds to the upper back, just below the neck.
She had said both injuries had to have been inflicted with a sharp knife and with excessive force.
The doctor had indicated the first injury was 1.8 inches long, one inch wide and seven inches deep, while the other was one and a half inches long, six inches wide and eight and a half inches deep.
This latter injury, Dr Miller Nanton had said, showed there was “torque” (some sort of turning force) whilst it was being inflicted.
One of the stabs punctured Pryce’s lungs causing the organ to fail after 600mm of blood flowed into it.